Board Communications Director
Ed Richards is approaching eight years at Leo Burnett and is just as excited about coming into work everyday as he ever was. “I’m absolutely still enjoying it,” he says. “In this industry you never stop learning and I have found this to be case every single day.” After completing a degree in geography at Newcastle University, Ed took a year out to travel the world. Rather than finding himself, he returned to London to work in banking which he hated. He then stumbled into a two week work experience placement at Leo Burnett after a careers adviser told him he would be suited to a career in communications.
Ed was placed on the McDonald’s account in an account management role and made himself indispensable. He worked on an ad hoc basis, having his contract extended every month. After impressing on arguably the busiest account in the building, Ed was offered to join the graduate scheme the following year in 2002. The experience was far from easy however, “I was delighted to get on the grad scheme, but I was also having to keep my McDonald’s work up, so it certainly wasn’t easy at times.” This baptism of fire served him well and he gained a huge amount of production experience on the four years he worked on the account. For two of those years he also managed the pan-European Happy Meal advertising programme.
However, eager for a change Ed was switched to government business where he helped develop a highly successful through the line campaign for the Education Maintenance Allowance. As well as helping to create an integrated campaign for an online gaming company. Working in digital from the start of his career, Ed believes he has been given an advantage. “Right from the start, I was doing integrated campaigns, which I suppose at the time was quite an unknown, but I’m extremely pleased I did.”
According to Ed, the average shelf life for an advertising professional is two years. So the question remains, why has he stayed at Leo’s for almost a decade? “I’ve always loved working here. I have noticed that people in the industry tend to move on after two years, but I know a lot of people who have done this then immediately regretted it. I am really happy here, have made a lot of friends and am still progressing in my career, so there’s absolutely no reason to leave.”
Ed ran the graduate scheme for a year previously and believes that it is crucial for potential applicants to consider what would make them fit in at Leo Burnett. “First of all, I think you’ve got to consider whether you would fit in culturally here, which essentially means that you are a nice down to earth person. If you are thinking about account management there’s a few things to consider, you should be bright, creative, a good communicator, willing to learn and open to change.”